Monday, 11 October 2010

How can activity be integrated without using mobile?

Last week, I saw a press releases in one of the marketing email updates that I get announcing the launch of an "integrated" campaign for a particular brand (to be honest, I can't recall the activity in question but, to be honest, it could have been any given brand in any given week).  As I often do, I thought "That sounds interesting.  'Integrated' they say.  I wonder what mobile element they have.".  Well, being a curious chap, I had a look and much to my surprise the activity had an online element in conjunction with some press/print above-the-line activity.  And nothing else.  Cue rant....

Above-the-line and online all too often isn't integrated, it's just online activity in parallel to ATL!  How can you call activity "integrated" if it doesn't integrate...?!?

There was no logical, or seamless customer journey between ATL and online, so unless you're sat at your desk in front of your computer reading a magazine, see an ad and log on to the site, the path from initial exposure to response and conclusion (e.g. purchase) is going to be disjoint.  For someone to participate in the online element (barring online discovery of course) the activity is relying on someone seeing the ATL and remembering to go online later.

And so how many people are not responding simply because of this?  

How many may think "That looks good", but by the time they get home or into work and in front of a computer have forgotten the URL, become engaged in something else (be that work or another advert), or just lost their initial interest?  In such a case, the ATL works purely as an awareness piece and the "integration" simply does not exist.

(* To be pefectly honest, there is no point to this image other than I was looking for a picture of David Brent with his hands interlocked like George Dubbya does above.  Blow me, I couldn't find one but did chance across this beauty which I couldn't not include) 

So why not allow consumers to interact there and then, when they see the ATL and their interest is aroused?  Why not let them "click" on the print ad and provide them a means of responding or interacting immediately?  Why not include a simple SMS (or if it's appropriate MMS) call-to-action or even a QR code that drives them to an optimised mobisite and so delivers the best experience for their device?  This mobisite need not be anything spectacular - it can just act as a conduit to the online activity, bridging the gap between ATL and online, for example by capturing an email address in order to send the consumer an email that then drives online or just giving them an an insight into the online activity and so cementing it in the consumers mind and better ensuring that they will visit online.

And why not in the process, augment your understanding with information such as which media drives better response?  And when?  And where?  Why not profile your traffic by device type and use this to inform future activity (device type is a useful indicator for socio-demographic profiling)?

Unfortunately, too many marketers fall into the trap of thinking that mobile can, or should, only be used when consumers are in a "heads down" (**) state - using or looking at their device (a symptom of the wider issue of mobile being an afterthought in marketing planning as I previously discussed here).  This forces mobile into being a silo'd part of the activity, with all discovery and interaction happening in isolation in the channel or bolted on the end of an online journey.

But mobile need not be the heart of the activity.  It is often at its most effective when it plays a catalytic role, operating when the consumer is in the "heads-up" (**) state, not looking at their device (but as we know with their device with them) and links the offline with the rich and engaging online.  Then you really are providing an "integrated" user journey that connects print/offline via mobile to web/online.

And only then can you honestly say that you have an "integrated" campaign.

(**) Copyright Movement Digital Limited...!

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